David Cameron reveals struggle to prepare August-born daughter for school

The Mail is reporting that David Cameron has revealed his struggle to prepare his summer-born daughter Florence to start school this September…

The Prime Minister said it was ‘challenging’ to get the three-year-old ‘school ready’ before term starts this autumn…

Mr Cameron said today that more would be done to prepare children to join lessons at the age of four…

The Prime Minister said: ‘All the evidence shows if you focus on the early years you have the best chance of transforming a child’s life.

‘We will look at how we can create a much more coherent offer to support children and parents in the early years, bringing together all those services targeted at getting children school-ready by age 4.

‘Believe me, with a four-year-old with a birthday in August, I know just how challenging that can be as people come up to that September deadline.’

Florence Cameron is due to start school in September, less than two weeks after turning four on August 24…

Aides to the Prime Minister said he was not suggesting that he had considered delaying Florence’s school start. ‘He was making a general point about how it is a big moment for any parent when their child takes those steps into primary school.’

…Speaking to MailOnline today, Mrs Dutton – from the Summer Born Campaign – said she was ‘very troubled to hear the Prime Minister talk about services targeted at getting children “school-ready by age 4” when legally, no child needs to be in education before the term following their 5th birthday.

‘It reinforces an entrenched culture that this is what “should” happen with every child…’ 

More at: It is ‘challenging’ getting Florence, 3, to start school this year, says Cameron ahead of review on rules for summer-born children


Are you encouraged by the apparent recognition from the prime minister of the issues faced by summer born children starting school?

Or, like Rosie Dutton, are you concerned by the idea that the solution is to do more to get four-year-olds ready for school?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link

Young becoming hostages to handheld devices, says charity
Guest post: A glimpse 20 years into the future for PE and school sport
Categories: Parenting and Primary.


  1. radiofourfan

    SchoolsImprove I think there should be two points of normal entry in school year, so no 3 yr olds being made ready to start at just 4

  2. BehaviourA

    How depressing and showing a complete lack of what good early years education is all about. Early years education (including Reception class and preferably year one too) is all about learning through play not getting ready “for lessons”.

  3. Roy352

    Given the obsession with KS1 tests, ideally children should start school at 7.
    Children born prematurely also face challenges keeping up with their full term counterparts and may suffer ‘hidden delays’ that only become apparent later. Teachers need to be trained to monitor these children and high stakes standardised tests should be adjusted accordingly (including the 11+).
    Sadly, deferring school entry won’t help children in living poverty.

  4. sjmccormick76

    It’s such a shame that our own Prime Minister isn’t aware of his options when it comes to starting his #summerborn daughter at school. Deferred entry, part time attendance or starting reception at CSA rather than a whole year early are all much more child orientated approaches to starting school!

  5. sjmccormick76

    This is already possible within legislation. Prior to compulsory school age a child may attend part time or they can defer entry until later in the school year, but not past the start of the summer term.(Section 2.16 of School Admissions Code)

  6. NurtureMyBaby

    SchoolsImprove i agree with RDut24! And shame DC doesn’t mention options of part time/ starting YR at CSA.

  7. sjmccormick76

    SchoolsImprove Then don’t send her in September. Surely our own Prime Minister is aware of his rights before she reaches CSA? #summerborn

  8. MordyAndMum

    sjmccormick76 SchoolsImprove presumably he’s enlisted a fleet of private tutors/professionals to get her school ready in time.

  9. NurtureMyBaby

    It’s a shame David speaks like starting his daughter in full time education this September is the only option. CSA is 5! It’s called CSA for a reason!
    You can send part time in reception, defer until late on the term or wait a whole year and start at CSA.
    There is the option of requesting tonstsrt reception at CSA. – Perhaps David is too daunted to try for this! It’s such a postcode lottery and causes many parents great anguish.
    Some councils (like mine -Hounslow) can’t even get their heads round starting reception part time until CSA which is absolutely a parents right – so I really feel for parents trying to get a reception start at CSA.

  10. HayBee1477

    I am so sad to hear DC has said about getting a child school ready at 3 …. What is this obsession with speeding up a human child’s normal development and growth ?! It’s grotesque to suggest we would be meddling with the normal growth and development of any child. Will we be giving them growth pills soon too to? . This growing trend to speed up childrens development is shocking. What is the rush? We will be paying for to in mental health costs very quickly down the line that is obvious surely!? We already have one of the youngest school starting ages in the world and certainly not the best outcomes so what on earth is the plan here???? It’s high time those in power over education started ensuring we afford each individual child a wonderful and inspirational education and stopped just “getting education done.” It’s seems to me that education is being treated more and more like a fast food option to get children fed their knowledge fast and out into the workforce with little nutrients or substance under their belts what children need is an education much more akin to a proper home cooked meal that provides nourishment stimulus enjoyment growth and contentment. When will the powers that be start giving education the value it requires.
    Of course summerborn children should be afforded the same equal access to reception and all school years as all others it’s unbeleivable that in 2015 we still have an identifiable group of children being specifically singled out for a detrimental rule in comparison to all others! That is the v definition of discrimination ! If it were any other minority group there would be a national out cry yet I feel were centuries behind in recognising this group of children!?! Nick Gibb really must make changes that finally afford a fair education to summer born children.

  11. sjmccormick76

    DebbieAitchison NurtureMyBaby SchoolsImprove So last year’s news passed off as happening now. Why? Doesn’t sit well with me! #summerborn

  12. NurtureMyBaby

    sjmccormick76 I’m totally confused! Too tired to make sense if this! Mirror article wrong surely? DebbieAitchison SchoolsImprove

  13. HayBee1477

    SchoolsImprove summerborns need same rights as all others NickGibbMP please give equal rights to summerborns

  14. sjmccormick76

    NurtureMyBaby DebbieAitchison SchoolsImprove Wiki States his daughter has Aug 2010 birthday, so started school age 4 in Sept 2014!

  15. HayBee1477

    SchoolsImprove equal access 2full YR &all years of ed for all inc summerborns who r most vulnerable/youngest &need it most

  16. CharAliyeva

    This is so depressing, David Cameron talking about getting his 3 year old ‘school ready’… is this to promote that if his daughter can go to school after just turning 4, then all children can? Not all children are the same. Not all children will find being taught at such a young age a positive experience. In fact there are many children that will find the pressures of what is expected in a Reception class now extremely damaging, thanks to government targets. There is a wealth of evidence to show the damaging affects of formal teaching at a young age, yet the government seem unable to acknowledge this and seem to be ignoring the evidence and pushing young children to achieve more and more at an early age. Maybe David Cameron’s daughter will fly and not experience the damaging affects but then not all children are the same.

  17. jojo

    ..just give Florence a nations insurance number and tax code and send off to work!! Getting her ready to start school at four?? It disgust me how kids can’t be kids and there are more unhappy kids that don’t cope with school and the routine and homework at a young age. I would hardly say that starting education at the age of four is ‘important’ !! Its not! Just loom at the EU countries and there practice of sending kids to start school at older age and there results….far much better!!

  18. HCar36

    SchoolsImprove His choice. Also allow parents who wish to enrol #summerborn children into reception at CSA. It’s all about flexibility.

  19. augbabymummy

    Makes me feel sick thinking about it. My little boy was born 18th August is nearly two now. I was so upset when I found out that his due date was the 30th and hoped terribly that he would be late.

    Most of his playmates were born in the September and October just weeks after him, and they are all in the same place developmentally. Some even seam a bit advanced to my guy. 

    He is very clever but also all action stations. I can see how it could be too soon for him, and learning could become a negative thing for him. I loved school and learning, did very well in all subjects. I was born in early November, turned five very soon after starting school, and didn’t have one reading or maths lesson until the the school year when I turned six.

    I hate to think that he should be in school a whole year before his playmates. He has his whole life to study and work. What is the rush? 

    Most parents are only talking about one year. The kids in the year below are their peers too. The age cut off is June in Northern Ireland not September. Why not here too? 

    Very annoyed.

  20. If Florence is not ready for school, don’t send her. David Cameron could do all families with summer born children a favour by not bowing to the pressure of schools and education authorities to send their children to school too early. Thankfully our school has always been very flexible, and I have never sent any of mine full time until they are 5.
    Obviously, all children are different. There is a girl in my daughter’s class whose birthday is 31st August, but she has always been brightest in class. as with all things related to children/families, parents need to be given a non-pressurised choice; we know our children best.

Let us know what you think...